Unfortunately, most of them. The Great Lakes and their ecosystems have been profoundly changed by human activity stretching back more than 200 years, when the area first began to become a hub particularly of boating commerce. The construction of canals and waterways to facilitate transportation, beginning with the Erie Canal in the early 19th century, allowed species of fish and plants to intermingle between the lakes and the rivers that connect to them, with unexpected results. One such result was the introduction of Atlantic sea lampreys into the Lakes, believed to have been associated with the opening of the Welland Canal. Sea lampreys prey on fish and have been a constant problem to the areas’ fisheries for more than 50 years. The most recent crisis has been the invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, which are thought to be migrating to the Lakes through waterways connected to the Mississippi River. Although a federal Great Lakes Interagency Task Force was convened in 2004 to deal with some of these problems, it was not until recently that a comprehensive strategy to restore balance to the Lakes’ ecosystem has been developed. Predictably, it has been criticized as being too costly.
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